What is a sticky blog?
I know, it sounds a bit weird doesn’t it? A sticky blog? What bloggers mean by this term is a blog that makes the reader want to stick around. They will read one post, then will see something else and click on that, maybe visiting a couple of posts before they leave your blog. Then, and this is the key, they will RETURN in the future to read more content.
Why is this important? Well if you think of it in terms of a numbers game, you can either attract thirty new people who maybe only visit your blog once or you can attract one person who visits regularly and you will end up with the same page views. Taking it a step further, what if you attracted the same thirty people, but you gave them a reason to stick around and return; they would give you a vast growth in page views. Remember it is easier to get people to stick around and return, than come to your blog in the first place. You already have them there on your blog, you just need to know how to make it hard for them to leave. Also the added benefit of a blog where people will click from one post to another before they leave, is that this will lower your bounce rate (bounce rate is the measure of people who click on a post and leave the website, without navigating further into the site).
Still with me? O.K, so how do you create a sticky blog? Here are some tips and tricks;
People need to identify with what you are offering on your blog and be clear from the first few seconds of arriving what it is all about. If you have a strong blog name and explanatory tag line it will make it easier for readers to remember you and come back.
Have a conversation with your reader
Talk to your reader like you are having a conversation with a friend. People like to be talked to, not talked at, and although this style maybe difficult to achieve online, it is something that is worth the effort. It will help to get people engaged in what you have to say, as if it was a two way conversation, meaning they will want to return.
Show your personality
There are so many bloggers out there and to a certain extent we will all talk about the same thing. There is only so many ways that people can reframe content and so the only thing that is really uniquely you, is your personality. People are attracted to other people and if you show your personality it will help people to decide to invest in you (and consequently return to your blog).
Make it personal
In the previous point, I advised showing your personality in order to build great relationships with your readers, which will turn them into repeat visitors. However, you have to go one step further and make your blog personal by sharing your story. You will affect people much more if they feel they know you in some way.
To me, this is one of the most important factors in whether you hook a reader in enough that they want to return or not. An attractive blog, well laid out, will no doubt be a much nicer place to be.
Make it easy for people to read your posts. Use images to break up text, use a clean background and a modern plain font. White space can be used between paragraphs to help break up posts. I find there is nothing more off putting than a huge block of text, with no space or divisions of any sort; I will rarely read a post like this. Posts that are scannable will go down well.
Suggest further reading
When people get to the bottom of a post they have a decision to make, they either head for the X to close the window, browse to a different site or click on something else on your blog. To help your readers to make the right decision (:) ) suggest further reading for them. You can either do this by a personally curated list of posts added to the bottom of each post or by the use of a plugin such a Related Posts or Shareaholic (which does lots more than just this). You can also add a fly in box (like mine), which should nudge it’s way into the bottom right hand corner when people are nearing the bottom of the post.
Share your popular posts in your sidebar
Why not create a little slider into your sidebar with rotating images highlighting your most popular posts, or if your tech skills are a little lacking even just a text version would work well.
Ask for what you want
If you think the key to getting people to stick around is to get them on your email list, then ask people to join. They are much more likely to carry out your wishes if you ask them to do a certain thing.
Invitations to subscribe to your blog prominent places
Email lists should be a bigger deal than most of us think they are. Imagine if Twitter suddenly started charging us for all our tweets or Instagram shut down (god forbid!)? My point is that you don’t own these social networks and they can be one of the biggest ways your blog links with your audience, but you do own your email list. Also there is also something more personal about your content being delivered into a persons email inbox.
Offer alternative subscription methods
We all have our preferences and while someone may like the posts emailed, someone else might prefer to subscribe to an RSS feed or through Bloglovin. So offer people multiple ways in which they can keep in touch with your blog.
Incentive to subscribe
You could think about offering an incentive to subscribe; giving readers some sort of free content if they sign up. This is not always hugely beneficial, but once they are on your list you have a least got a chance of keeping them there. Some people will sign up, receive the free content, then unsubscribe, but there is a chance some of them will stick around.
Add subscribe to comments or use comment luv
You can install a plugin, which will give the reader an option to click to receive follow up comments or you can use the comment luv plugin which emails readers the responses to their comment. This allows the conversation to keep going and relationships to be built.
Respond to comments
I think for blogger this point is the killer, responding to comments. As I type this I have about two weeks worth of comments on my blog to respond to and about five days of Instagram ones; the time it takes me to respond to these I simply haven’t got right now. I do think, however, that responding to comments both on blog and social media is really important and does help to create a community around what you are doing with your blog.
Write valuable (lean) content
We all know valuable content is important. Rarely will someone be enthralled at the fact that you had fish fingers for your dinner, but they would love to know how you make your homemade low fat fish fingers. Provide people will helpful posts, you can even make posts that are more family focused an interesting and useful post too. By lean I mean don’t go on a ramble, keep the fluff to a minimum. People’s time is precious and they don’t want to spend it reading things that aren’t relevant to them.
There you have it, the first part of my how to create a sticky blog, check back next Tuesday for part two containing even more tips and tricks.